Friday, June 24, 2011

Drawing! pt.8

Yeah, I sorta quickly sketched in the Wheelchair. Hard to maintain a good pose when you're half asleep.

Email me for a larger verion. :)

Drawing! pt.7

Love drawing so much. ^_^.

Take a guess as to what he's carrying in his right (on left side of page) arm.

Stated in the first few posts under "Drawing! pt.---", email me for larger version.

My B'day Present!

Yay! I've always and am still a huge fan of the 'How To Draw Manga' series by Graphic Sha but I found out recently that the company had stopped printing their books and its really hard to track down a particular book from the series and especially for a cheap price.

Anyways, before they stopped, they released 4 or 5 volumes on a new series titled 'How To Draw Manga ; Sketching Manga Style' and it features really good updated pictures and great drawing tips and advice.It also includes some computer graphic tutes. I got Volume 1 as a B'day Present. Vol.2 I own already as I got it from Amazon. But nowadays, vol.2 sells at $100(USD) or more and Vol.1 too. Though I really would like collect them all. Vol.3 has got to be the most wanted for me.

Sorry if the photos look bad. the book is still reletively new so its hard to fully open it without making a crease on the front of the book (along the spine). You all know what its like to get a new book and wanting to keeping that condition.

Enjoy the pics though. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making Macarons in Winter

These little delecasies do require alot of attention and care when making them.
Winter here in Canberra is freezing. In my previous post based on finally achieving feet, I had made those in the evening and with the heaters on in the hosuse (set to 20 degrees).

Today, I attempted making them again and using the same methods. Though this time they had taken very long (nearly 2 hrs) to dry and they came out with no feet. Still tasted good and had a good preserved colour.

The reason behind that result is because of the room and air temperature being fairly cold or chilly when you leave the macarons to dry after piping the macarom mixture. This how many of my previous attempts failed.
Today was cold too so the temperature was around the 'teens (11 or 12) . I don't have the heaters on during the day, only in the evenings.

So therefore, as a tip for those (beginners ) making macarons in winter, be sure to have the room temperature set warmer than the temperature 'outside' the house. 17 or 18 degrees to 20 degrees or is best. You might get away with it if you were to use the Italian meringue method but this method applies to the French meringue method.

I've still got some ways to go but hopefully along the way, I can pick up on other macaron ruining problems and will report if I do come across them.

I hope this helps. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Hunt For Macarons is ON!!!! - Queanbeyan

I didn't expect to find them at this place I always get my B'day cake from but there they were. I hadn't been to Queabeyan in ages so goin there over the weekend to order a cake and to also pick up some other goodies, that was quite a find.

Oh yes, this place I speak of is called 'Continental Cakes' and they make the most deleicious celebration cakes ever! They also make other cakes and treats which are pretty awsome but having tried some over this weekend has not been as great a taste as before. The place had gotten a new owner.

Back to the point of the macarons, they look adorable and sold for like $1 a piece. The flavours shown here are rasberry and green tea.

Taste wise though....hmmm..... I'm not really boasting about them, like I did with my other findings based in Canberra, as having taken 1 bite out of each was....not good. The 'Flute', selling at $2 a piece would be my reconmendation to a cheap Macaron. Those macarons had a funny filling taste. the shells were alright and crispy but the filling definately was....... not good.

I ended up eating up half of the little cakes I bought from the place to clear the taste.

This is in MY OPINION.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mosaic Roll

Awsome song discovered when working on tumblr blog for wed design (Uni work).

Sung by Gumi Megpoid and is called Mosaic Roll. The Lyrics are awsome too! Enjoy.

Steppin into Vocaloid a bit again.

Before my macarons had feet!

I've had my fair share of failures at making macarons.... I guess. Anyways, I just posting this to share what my experieces and attempts were like. My succession can be seen here. I currently using the French Meringue method.

First attmpt!

Very runny mixture

Log shaped and pancake like macarons. They were very sticky and hard to pull off the baking paper. By the way, I using non-greasy baking paper, not non-stick. 

It went horribly and was sort of a waste since I used a 3 egg based recipe. It seems that I over mixed the macaron mixture during the macaronage stage. The macaronage is when you cobine the TNT (tante pour tante) (almond flour/meal and icing sugar) with the stiffened egg whites.
Atleast I managed to get 'feet', heh heh heh.
You can't really buy powdered food colouring in Australia unless its on the internet.

Second and third attempt were similar results, only that the third had a better colour.

Piped mixture. I was happy that they held their form unlike the first attempt.

Out of the oven and set aside to cool. I set the oven temperature a bit to high.

Result of second attempt.

Result of third attempt.

Both batches were 'footless'. Oh yes, I started using this recipe I found here. It only calls for one egg so I don't waste very much if I were to fail. The reason to my macarons being footless was because they were over dried (the macarons were stll tacky and wet to touch after 30 min so I let them dry another 30min) and the mixture was under mixed (so the mixture was thick). They tasted pretty good though.

Forth, fifth and sixth attempt, they just began going downhill.

Piped batter. This time I used blue food (liquid) colouring, but only one drop. The reason why macaron recipes call for paste or power food colouring is to reduce moisture in the macaron mixture. I use a gel based one and is really strong so I only need to dip a toothpick in it and mix it into the egg white.

My macarons had no feet and began to collapse in. They only callapse is the surface isn't dry enough to touch. This batch was my fifth. They tasted goo still.

Just like my second and third attempt but only this time I may have overmixed the macaronage a bit. I thought it might have been the egg whites being too stiff or the recipe itself and was at a point of giving up. The macarons also, after comming out of the over, refused to come off the baking paper (I was using non-greasy, not non-stick). I also asked Macaron Fetish for advice.
The answer was definately related to the macronage and also the weather. I was at giving up point when my sixth attempt went down the bin (only because I used a different oven and a fan forced one at that).

Seventh attempt.

I made this with a friend and I used a 3 egg recipe only because I was thinking that the one egg based recipe was a fault still. No pics but the results were somewhat hillarious but the macarons still failed.

They came out extra brown and were pretty crispy. Though they did somehow form feet but instead of on the sides, they came out through the middle-top part of the macaron, like a germinating or sprouting bean.
They were hard to pull off the baking paper (non-greasy) too so half the batch was considered 'chew and spit'. They were still edible but you had to spit the paper out.

We still gilled them with ganache, which was made of melted chocolate and butter but after sandwiching them, the ganache hardened and turned back to hard choclate. So the result of our macarons were pretty crispy and hard.

I had fun with this attempt and it somewhat encouraged me to continue making them but if my next attempts were to still fail, I told myself to go take a macaron making class or coarse.

Yes, thats alot to read but...Thanks for reading. Best of luck to beginners too. Don't give up!!!

Yahooooooo! My Macarons have FEET!

I've been delaying my posts for a bit since I've been attempting to perfect my macaron skills and finally....

Letting them dry. Yes plenty of space just incase they were to turn out bad.

Yahoooooo..... the feet (indicated by the yellow arrows) are begining to appear

Out of the oven and cooling away

How exciting and sooooo cute! The feet, the feet! 

Filled them with white choc+cocoa powder+passionfruit syrup ganache. YUM!!!
For a sort of nice filing effect, gently twist the the shells to sandwich the ganache.

This has got to be my 8th or maybe 9th attempt. I was sooooooo happy after seeing them pop up whilst watching them in the oven. Practically dancing around the kitchen with joy.

If you don't know what the 'feet' are on macarons, they are the little frilly like ring at the base of the macaron shell. A.K.A the 'pied'.

I'm thinking that I was successful with trying these tips:
  • because its winter right now, I made these in the evening with the heaters on (20 degrees).
  • I set let them set for 45 to 50 min. Yeah, I've read many recipes and macaron making tips and some would say that 30min was the max drying time or other wise my macarons would have no feet due to 'over drying'. Glad to know now that the max is 60 min.
  • I used 'non-stick' baking paper this time for sure!!!!
  • I tried a different macronage method (well the combining of wet and dry ingredients part) from here.
French meringue is easier to make but is more delicate and can be easily over mixed or undermixed. Thats how my macarons failed. The different macaronage method I used ensured that the chances of under/over mixing were less.
  • My oven is one of those that are not fanforced and is an old model so I let it heat up to 170 degrees for 5 to 7 min and then when I pop the macarons in to the oven, I lower it to 150 degrees and bake for 15 min at max.
Many of these tips were inspired by some help from Macaron Fetish (I sorta emeailed the owner) and from a basic macaron recipe - French meringue method by You can do home

By the way, I was following the basic recipe on Macaron Fetish. It uses one egg so I don't waste very much!There were many times when I thought that this particular recipe was the main problem to my macaron failures but was actually due to the macronage and winter season (?) and perhaps the baking paper too.

Enjoy and for macaron beginners, don't give up! I hope my tips may help too!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drawing! pt.6

Yeah..... its been a fair while for sure!

Still trying to master the Macarons. If your windering about the nail art stuff, won't be for a while since my nails are pretty weak right now.

Winter in Canberra is pretty harsh too!

For the time being, please enjoy this pic whilst I think up some other stuff to post.

This pic took like a week to do in Photoshop and its nowhere near proffessional but it still looks good. The outline was done in Abobe Illustrator.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Latte Art at Borneo Cafe

I get the feeling june isn't going to have as many posts as the previous months as I have been foccussing on making macarons.

Today I was out at the Hyperdome in Tuggeranong and went for coffee at this fancy little place called 'Borneo', which is located between Best & Less and the Hyperdome Pharmacy. The coffee's don't cost too bad and are actually worth it if your having the coffee there. Reason be is because of the AMAZING latte art that comes with it.

Like this one, which looks a little odd at first but is actually a lions face. How cute! 本当かわいい!

Any ways, just sharing really! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vocaloid! - Karakuri 卍 Burst

I'm slowly drifting away from Vocaloid you could say!
But besides that, I had come across this 'theme' whilst looking for pics on Vocaloid. The theme and song is called "Karakuri 卍 Burst", which is very interesting. I think its somewhat sorta historic as the outfits and the "卍" sorta refer to the era in which Hitler was alive. But the video to this song is pretty awsome. 

(Please don't mind the change of colour in text. Had a few problems to fixing that.)

It features Len and Rin Kagamine and the plot, to me, seems like the twins are forced to go against each other and they don't really realize it. They have flash backs which tell how they came to be in such a position (Murder and blood). The flash book shows how they were seperated.
Miku sorta plays a part in the video as well but as the one responsible for splitting the twins apart. Towards the end, they sorta realize that it is 'them' from their flash backs.

Awwwww.... man, I want to see more and the outcome! But I really like the video. Its got some form of romantic aura to it. The lyrics and the song rocks!

The costumes are pretty cool and I especially think len looks really hot, with the eyepatch and all. XD!

Here is the vid.

Anyways, I hope you do enjoy it just as I have!

Does this not remind you of a particular anime?

Yeah, way to post a first entry for the first month of winter!

Was looking into Hetalia Axis Powers since a friend of mine was so into it. Looking up pics on Zerochan and found this!

Does it not remind you of that wallpaper on Hikaru's, Haruhi's and Kaoru's phone from Ouran High School Host Club?

Ha, ha, ha! I like it. Also currently listening to RPG from C which sounds pretty good.

You can download it here: